Electrostatic interactions: From immune receptor assembly to signaling.
Our ability to mount a long-lasting and protective immune response relies on a variety of immune receptors that enable the recognition of ongoing infections, which triggers the adaptation of a myriad of immune cells. The organization of several immune receptors, such as the T cells receptor and several natural killer cell receptors, utilizes different modules for ligand recognition and signaling. These receptors require specific recognition mechanisms between the different modules in order to ensure proper assembly and function. Once assembled, immune receptors must remain inactive in the absence of ligand to prevent the onset of unwanted immune response. Indeed, several mechanisms exist to prevent aberrant immune receptor signaling in the absence of ligand to avert the initiation of uncontrolled autoimmunity. However, once a ligand is recognized, immune receptors must rapidly and specifically engage kinases to initiate highly regulated signaling cascades that lead to the initiation of transcriptional programs that dictate the immune response. Over the last decade, compelling evidence have been presented which suggest that electrostatic interactions are critical for many aspects of immune receptor functions. In the work that follows, we present an overview of the literature that have provided evidence that illustrate how electrostatic interactions regulate immune receptor assembly, inactive state, triggering, and signaling.